The new soccer season is underway at NVU-Johnson, and with it comes a new Head Women’s Soccer Coach, John “Norm” Peterson. Peterson doesn’t look anything at all like his Cheers nick-namesake, but he does share Norm’s outgoing nature.
Growing up near Worcester, Massachusetts, Peterson was a three-sport athlete in high school, but then he took a different path.
“I went to Bryant University in Rhode Island and did not play sports there,” Peterson said. “I ended up with a degree in finance and went to work in Boston for a while. I worked for a number of investment banks, which is not exciting.”
“I was very practical in choosing my major. I knew I was going to be able to make money and get a job by doing that. It was just kind of a return-on-investment thing, not realizing that at the time I didn’t like it, or I certainly didn’t love it anyway.”
Through a series of fortunate events and professional reshufflings, Peterson and his wife found themselves living in Vermont with their two daughters.
“We moved down in the valley in Warren,” Peterson said. “My kids were nine and eleven, and my daughter had played soccer and signed up for spring soccer here, and they didn’t have a coach.
“I adjusted some stuff at work, and I did it. I wasn’t getting any joy out of making other people money,” Peterson noted. “I found my passion just a little later in life, so I tried to build up my resume there.
“So, just coaching within the school district and clubs, moving up the ranks with clubs. When this opportunity presented itself, I grabbed on with both hands. This is a destination job for me.”
Ready for the upcoming season, Peterson is more than happy to call himself a Badger. “I am ecstatic to be here,” he said. “I’m looking forward to building a winning, solid program here, and I just love being out on the field every day. I love all the players. I want to be here with players who are committed, competitive, and are good to be around, and I can’t wait for that opportunity.”
When discussing the goals of the women’s program Peterson was clear: “For this year, it’s about getting to know the players and starting to set the standard of play. How are we going to practice? I think the only way you’re going to get better is to push each other in practice. I want us to be tight as a team. We need everybody pulling in the same direction.”
Peterson also made a point to applaud the fan culture on campus. “I’m over the moon to be here, and I appreciate when people come out to games. The men’s basketball team was at our home opener, and I could hear them the whole game. They were so positive.”
While Peterson knows that he faces challenges, he said he is happy to have landed where he did. “I want to thank the women on the team. They have been super accepting. I think they are an exceptional group of people. They have made the transition really easy for me.”
Now settled into his first collegiate head coaching position, Peterson sets his sights on the fall soccer season where, as of Oct. 14, the Badgers hold a record of 1-9 with seven goals scored across all their games. They look to snap their losing streak on Oct. 14 at home against the Fisher Falcons.